First finance and business academy launches in North West

September 08, 2010

The £22 million Co-operative Academy of Manchester has been officially opened in Higher Blackley, North Manchester.

The city’s business leaders, including Sir Howard Bernstein, Chief Executive of Manchester City Council and Peter Marks, Chief Executive of The Co-operative Group, gathered to welcome the new year-seven students on their first day.

It is the only specialist Finance and Business academy in the North West and one of the final three academies to open under Manchester City Council’s pioneering education model.

The academy will provide 900 places for 11 to 16 year olds and 120 places for post-16 year olds. It is sponsored by The Co-operative Financial Services (CFS), Manchester City Council and The Manchester College.

Kathy Leaver, Principal of The Co-operative Academy of Manchester, said: “It is a momentous day to be opening the doors to the Co-operative Academy today and to welcome in the first students.

“The academy has been designed with a huge amount of care, passion and expertise enabling us to offer young people in North Manchester one of the best, most well-rounded education experiences in the country.”

Students will be taught finance and business skills alongside more traditional subjects and will be offered a range of qualifications including GCSEs, AS and A Levels as well as more vocational Diploma and BTEC courses.

The state-of-the-art building, which has been awarded a government benchmark for its design, has been purpose-built to mimic a working business environment. It includes open-plan classrooms, boardrooms and break-out areas to bring the finance and business specialism to life.

Rod Bulmer, Managing Director of Retail at The Co-operative Financial Services, and Chair of the Academy Trust, explained: “We have huge ambition for the Co-operative Academy to become one of the leading beacons of education in the North West. More than that, we want it to help shape the future generation of Manchester’s business leaders and to bring about regeneration and growth in Higher Blackley.”

The academy’s lead sponsor, CFS, will support the vocational development of students through business mentoring, seminars, workplace visits and practise interviews.

Rod said: “We will work with students to show them the many different opportunities within a company like The Co-operative Bank, and to equip them with all the skills and knowledge they will need to get ahead in any career in the business world.”

Students can enrol at The Co-operative Academy until the end of October. Kathy Leaver, Principal at The Co-operative Academy can be contacted for more details (T: 0161 795 3005, E:,)

The academy is hosting an open day on 16 September for all members of the public as well as students interested in attending.


For further information please contact

Nuala Ryan
The Co-operative Financial Services Press Office
Tel: 0161 903 3822
E-mail : nuala.ryan@cfs,coop


Notes to Editors

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About The Co-operative Academy of Manchester

The Co-operative Academy of Manchester is part of a wider programme of seven new academies open across the city by September 2010, each one linked to future growth sectors of the city's economy.

The Co-operative Group is one of Manchester's largest and most successful business and is well placed to support the academy's specialism of finance and business. The specialism will complement the broad and balanced curriculum offer of the academy, which has been designed to bring out the best in all students. The co-sponsors for all the new academies across the city are Manchester City Council and The Manchester College. This dynamic partnership will support the academy to deliver world class finance and business skills in Manchester.

The co-operative values of self-help, equity, honesty and caring for others underpin all The Co-operative businesses and are at the heart of the academy. The Principal Designate for the academy is Kathy Leaver who will take up her post as Principal for the opening of the academy in September 2010: "The academy is an inclusive, supportive and aspirational school, with traditional standards of respect, good behaviour and self-discipline placed in a modern context. The academy welcomes students of all abilities and social backgrounds and will challenge them to achieve their best for themselves and the community around them."

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